Eating Authors: John Brown

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John Brown

Hey there, nice to see you. You’re just in time for the latest installment of Eating Authors, the weekly blog feature that invites writers of speculative fiction to come on by and tell us all about their most memorable meals. Our guest this week is John Brown. John’s the author of an epic fantasy series being published by Tor Books. The first volume, Servant of a Dark God came out in 2009. Other books in the series, coming soon, include Curse of a Dark God and Dark God’s Glory.

I don’t know all that much about John (other than that we both had short stories reprinted in Brian Youmans’s The Best of the Rest 4). He lives in the hinterlands of Utah with his wife and four daughters, and according to his official biography his father and grandfather were both florists and boxers. There’s either an interesting sociological case study waiting to happen there, or the basis for a weak joke that could end with a knock-out punch and a bouquet of forget-me-nots, but we won’t be going there. Instead, let’s focus on why we’re here: the food!

LMS: John, welcome to the blog. Tell me, of all the meals you’ve enjoyed in life, what sticks out in your memory as the absolute best?

JB: I’m an author.

Which means I’m the type of person who seeks out novelty.

The type of guy who does not flee when Godzilla is mashing cars and sending seismic shocks down the street because, hey, if I stick around I might get a great story. I mean, I can save some lady pushing a stroller too while I’m at it (and her kid, okay), but if I’m going to write about the big lizard, I should do a bit of research, and he’s right there. Right?

So we moved from Columbus, Ohio to rural northern Utah. To a town with 500 inhabitants if you count a few of the cows that sometimes get loose and wander through. The next closest town is fifteen minutes away. The closest movie theater, closest bowling alley, closest Wal-mart is an hour away.

We’re kind of out there.

Servant of a Dark God
Strata

There are four towns in our ranching county: Garden City, Laketown, Randolph, and Woodruff. And there are thousands and thousands of acres where the ranchers run their cattle. There aren’t many trees, which means you can see for miles and miles. Every spring the ranchers do various ranchey things. They help their cows deliver recalcitrant calves, they inoculate, they brand and tag, they cut massive testicles off of their bulls and figure they’re good eating.

Our first year out here we drove past this sign:

Strata

The ad in the paper that went along with this said, “Come on in. We’ll have a ball.”

Who can resist that? I’m an author. I seek novelty.

We stood in two lines out in the open by the rodeo arena. I paid my money and got a Styrofoam plate and plastic utensils. They served them up with Dutch oven potatoes and beans, which were both cooked with plenty of onions and bacon and butter.

My wife, bless her heart, is not an author. Alas. But my brother-in-law is a guy and decided it might be worth a try.

I grabbed a Hires root beer out of a cooler full of ice and sat down on the bleachers with my meal. He looked at me. I looked at him.

I’m an author.

I have learned the secret of testicles. And they do not taste like chicken.

John, John, John, your account brings so many questions to mind, not the least of which being concern about the implication that you believe that all testicles taste alike (surely some species’s must taste like chicken?), but the one the one that gnaws at me the most is: why root beer?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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